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Many individuals have experienced the disappointment of being rejected from a good job when the prospective employer learns of the applicant's prior arrest(s) and/or conviction(s). Successfully having your criminal record expunged can avoid this problem. Once a record is expunged under New Jersey law, the arrest(s) and conviction(s) are treated as if they never occurred. This process allows you to truthfully state on a job application or to a prospective employer that you have never been arrested or convicted of anything! After an expungement, if police stop you and check your name, they will no longer find your past criminal charges / convictions. Until an expungement, that information will appear on a routine check. This is just one of the reasons why it is so important to have an experienced New Jersey expungement lawyer on your side.
Expungement is the legal way to do the following:
In certain circumstances, you can have your criminal record expunged, which many people call "sealed." This makes it almost impossible for your criminal or arrest history to be found by any person or agency checking into your background. After expungement, your criminal record is unavailable, even to police agencies, in most circumstances.
One criminal conviction in New Jersey (equivalent of a felony in other states) can be expunged after 10 years after either probation or parole expires and after all fines are paid. For ‘good cause’, a conviction can be expunged after 5 years. It is important to note your missed job opportunities and other missed opportunities when applying for an expungement under the ‘good cause’ rule.
Since the expungement laws have changed, some drug distribution/sale cases that were not expungable are now eligible for expungement as above. For those who are convicted of certain drug crimes and who are under 21, a faster expungement is possible.
The new laws allow someone to expunge either 3 disorderly persons’ convictions (used to be two) or one criminal and two disorderly person’s convictions. For disorderly person’s conviction, one normally can expunge the offense 5 years after probation is over and all fines have been paid. ‘Good cause’ allows someone to apply for expungement even earlier - after 3 years now. It is important to note any missed job opportunities and/or any other missed opportunities when applying for an expungement under good cause.
People living in New Jersey can expunge all ordinance convictions 2 years after all fines are paid and probation is over.
Individuals can expunge some dismissed cases almost immediately. After a dismissal of charges (not based on completing a diversionary program), expungement is almost instantly available. After a dismissal based on completion of a diversionary program (conditional discharge or pretrial intervention), one is eligible for an expungement 6 months later.
In many cases, Drug Court completion results in expungement of a client’s entire prior record. There are some exceptions (e.g. Can’t get expungement for robbery)
Anyone who can!
If you are eligible for an expungement and fail to obtain one, you are doing a huge disservice to yourself and the people who depend on you.
Criminal records have an ongoing impact on your life. Criminal records that are not expunged are public records and may prevent you from reaching your goal when people involved in decisions about your job application, scholarship, housing, admission to school, coaching, or loan request learn about your history. When an expungement/ sealing of the records takes place, those records are no longer available to the public.
The time from filing an application for an expungement to getting a hearing on the application typically is a few months. As more individuals who realize how important an expungement is are filing for an expungement, the backlog of cases is increasing. Cases that used to take 2-3 months to resolve are frequently taking twice as long, or even longer than that. You should ask a New Jersey expungement lawyer to evaluate your situation and advise on the timing of when you can apply as early as possible.
Failing to include a complete history of your arrests/charges including juvenile charges, municipal court disorderly person’s charges, and other encounters with the law will result in a rejection of the expungement application. If that occurs, the entire process must be repeated. Therefore, it is helpful to have a New Jersey expungement lawyer review your entire criminal record and work with you on your expungement so that your application has a good chance of success.
Unlike the surrounding states, an arrest or conviction for driving under the influence in New Jersey is considered a traffic, not a criminal, offense and the records regarding a DUI are therefore maintained by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Unfortunately, because a DUI is not a traffic offense, the records surrounding a DUI case cannot be expunged as set forth in Section 2C:52-28 of the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice. This means that while an individual convicted of burglary or a more serious offense may be able to expunge their records, an individual who makes a single mistake by consuming alcohol at a family gathering and then driving under the influence is prevented from doing so.
Because expungement is not available to those convicted of a DUI, it is critical to speak to the team at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A immediately after an arrest so that they can minimize or eliminate all of the potential consequences and keep your driving record as clear as possible.
While expungement is not available for those individuals who are arrested or convicted of DUI, a skilled New Jersey DUI defense lawyer may, in limited circumstances, recommend the filing of post-conviction relief. Such a petition seeks to reopen a prior DUI case by alleging that the defense attorney made serious errors or that the Judge or prosecutor committed an error. These requests for relief are rarely granted, but in some cases, it may be possible to obtain the entry of an order confirming that a prior conviction will not be used to enhance the penalties in a subsequent case as a result of the error that occurred.
Our attorneys are dedicated to helping clients like you clear their name. Call us today at 1-877-Helmer1 to schedule a consultation to discuss your legal options with an experienced expungement lawyer at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. You can also contact us online. We have locations throughout New Jersey and offer payment plans for your convenience.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.